Monday, 23 January 2017

Recent Recoveries

Only one Barn Owl this time - a female bird that was ringed in 2010 in Girton. She has been retrapped 6 times now, either at Girton (though in a different box to the original ringing site), or over the river in Sutton-on-Trent, which was the case this time round when North Notts RG recaptured her on 22 June last year.

Two Canada Geese from the Nottingham University research project have been found by Tom, still going strong. N66 and 28N were both found by the river at Trent Bridge on 18 September 2016. Both had been ringed as adults in July the same year.

Also at Trent Bridge amongst the many Black-headed gulls, were a couple of ringed birds, seen on 31 December. The first, J8TN, is the returning Norwegian bird that has been noted 3 times now since the winter of 2014/15. It was ringed in Norway in 2013 as an adult. The other bird had its metal ring read in the field, and was originally ringed as a chick at Thorne Moor, South Yorks in 2002, so will be celebrating its 15th birthday this year!

Some Passerine recoveries have come in too:

A Robin, ringed in Jim's Sibthorpe garden in December last year, was found dead in the village, having been killed by a cat, on 4 January.

A Reed Bunting, ringed by Ian Blackmore in Cropwell Butler in 2014, has been retrapped by ringer Ian Kirton in Cropwell Bishop, in December.

Three Lesser Redpoll were controlled at Bestwood in November. Of two caught on 8th, one had been ringed the previous month at Clumber and the other in Brandon, Suffolk back in March. The third bird, controlled on the 15th, had been ringed just 15 days previously, at Bevercotes Mine in the north of the county.

Finally, a Chiffchaff, ringed as a juvenile at Ramsdale Golf club in July 2015, has been recaptured by French ringers in the south-west of the country in Messange, in October last year (see map).


 Chiffchaff movement (map prepared by M. Pearson)

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 22 January

Alex, Gary and I netted the feeding site this morning. We were joined by Edward Winfield who came along to see what ringing was all about. It was –3 Celsius when we got to the site and only +2C when we left, so a cold and mostly overcast morning with the breeze picking up a little about 0930 to add to the wind chill!

We put up the usual nets plus an additional net near the Pheasant feeder at the other end of the field. Catching was steady throughout and better than recent visits but still no large numbers despite the freezing conditions.

We ended with 42 birds including 21 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 1/1, Dunnock 2/9, Robin 6/4, Great Tit 0/2, Blue Tit 1/2, Goldcrest 0/1, Goldfinch 6/0, Chaffinch 1/2, Yellowhammer 3/0, House Sparrow 1/0. The oldest retraps were from last winter.


Monday, 9 January 2017

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 8 January

Sue, Duncan, Gary and I netted the feeding site this morning. The sky was mostly overcast and there was no breeze at all, it was about 5 degrees when we started and 10 degrees when we left. There seemed few birds about and the first net round produced no birds at all (apart from a Fieldfare that jumped out of the net as we approached). An ominous sign and strange as the seed in the feeders had gone down quite a bit since I topped them up only 5 days earlier. Strangely the catching rate started to pick up in the second half of the morning with 13 of only 17 birds caught being after 1000.

The catch was made up of (new/retrap): Robin 0/1, Great Tit 1/0, Blue Tit 1/0, Greenfinch 2/0, Goldfinch 9/0, Chaffinch 2/0, House Sparrow 1/0. The retrap was from the last visit and the House Sparrow a new species for the feeding site.

There were quite a few birds visiting a pheasant feeder at the other end of the field, maybe because this did not have nets set next to it – but it will have on the next visit!

There were plenty of Yellowhammer, Fieldfare and Redwing around but the best sighting of the morning was a pair of Grey Partridge that spent some time in the field quite close to our base.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Grey Heron sighting

A bird ringed as a chick at Attenborough on 10 June 2013 has been seen in Dovedale, Staffs, on 5 December 2016. The same bird was also seen at Carsington Water, Derbs in April 2015. This is now the oldest reported bird from the project.

 Sightings of Grey Heron 1507012 (map prepared by M. Pearson)

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Brackenhurst, Wednesday 28 December

As often happens there was a cold snap betwixt Christmas and New Year. Duncan, Kev, Tom and I took advantage of this on the 28th. It was still and frosty when we arrived before dawn and freezing fog came down at nine, but soon to be replaced by bright sunshine ‘til we left.

The first net round produced about 30 birds; mainly Redwing and Yellowhammer. The latter formed nearly half of the catch with the oldest retrap being a bird from just over six years ago; this Yellowhammer had not been caught between times. The old birds often show up at the feeders in cold weather, and we also had Yellowhammers from 2013 (2), 2014 and 2015 (2). The oldest bird retrapped was a Chaffinch from 2009. As with Yellowhammers, Robins are apt to show up at the feeders in cold weather and we processed 10 birds with retraps from 2013, 2014 and 2015. Its almost like the older, more experienced birds know where to look for food when its cold!

The total number of birds processed was 87 (54 new/33 retrap), comprising: Dunnock 0/1; Robin 5/5; Blackbird 3/1; Fieldfare 1/0; Redwing 7/0; Blue Tit 2/6; Great Tit 1/8; Treecreeper 0/1; Chaffinch 5/1; Yellowhammer 30/10.


  A frosty dawn at Brack (Tom Shields)

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

News of Professor Nabegh

I suspect like many of you, the pile of bird magazines and journals tends to back up and as a result I've only just picked up the September issue of the BirdLife International magazine. Entitled 'The War Issue' it features a whole host of interviews with conservationists working in war zones. And who should stare out at me from the very first piece? Our very own Nabegh! I've quickly photographed the pages and uploaded them below. If you click on them you should just about be able to read them. It's a fantastic piece and great to hear more of Nabegh's other life.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

A week at Sutton Bonington

We have spent four mornings ringing at Sutton Bonington between last Sunday to this Sunday. The weather has been good for mist netting throughout, but far too warm to draw birds into the feeders so we ended with very few birds to show for our efforts. The week went as follows:

Sunday 11th - Sue, Duncan, Gary and I netted the usual feeding site. The sky was overcast and only a slight breeze blowing but it was far from cold. It was obvious from the start that there were not many birds around and we ended with a catch of just 12 birds including 4 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Wren 1/0, Robin 1/1, Blackbird 2/0, Great Tit 1/0, Blue Tit 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 0/3, Goldcrest 1/0, Chaffinch 1/0. The oldest retraps were from last winter.

Tuesday 13th – The first of two morning sessions working with Kate, Sophia and Lucy from York University on the antimicrobial resistance project. Gary, Kate and Lucy set nets in the arboretum area whilst Duncan, Sophia and I headed to the dairy farm. It was a very overcast morning with a slight breeze and the odd spot of drizzle. This time both sites had got full feeders to catch around but the mild weather meant the birds were not exactly queuing to get to them. At the dairy farm we ended with just 5 birds including 2 retraps. Gary and his team did rather better at the arboretum with 20 birds including 2 retraps and a new Nuthatch. Grand totals for the day made up of (new/retrap): Robin 2/1, Song Thrush 1/0, Blackbird 4/0, Great Tit 6/0, Blue Tit 3/2, Nuthatch 1/0, Goldcrest 2/1, Bullfinch 2/0. The retraps were all recently ringed birds. Kate and her team then treated us to lunch at the local pub.

Wednesday 14th – Duncan, Gary, Kate, Sophia, Lucy and I set nets in the sewage treatment plant, a site that the group used to use about 30 years ago. I was a little apprehensive about what we might catch as the outside temperature showing on my car as I set off from home at 0630 was +10degC. This apprehension was not eased as we took our first walk around the site in the half light and watched a bat flying around! We set 10 nets around the site including covering 2 sets of feeders but the catching was very slow. The wagtails were all feeding in the surrounding fields and there were no Starlings or corvids coming into the site. We did have a couple of Goldcrest around the base so we put up a hand supported net, mp3 etc. and caught those easily. The rest of the nets were just not producing much and with the sun coming out there were insects everywhere. We ended with catch of just 12 birds all new, made up of: Robin 2, Blackbird 1, Great Tit 3, Blue Tit 2, Goldcrest 2, Chaffinch 1 and a single Green Woodpecker. As I drove home in the sunshine it was 13 degrees.

Sunday 18th - Sue, Duncan, Alex, Gary and I netted the usual feeding site. Again the sky was overcast and there was no breeze at all, it was about 2 degrees when we started. Little was around again and we ended with a catch of just 16 birds including 12 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Wren 0/1, Robin 1/1, Dunnock 1/0, Blackbird 1/0, Great Tit 1/2, Blue Tit 1/1, Long-tailed Tit 0/4, Goldfinch 0/1, Chaffinch 1/0. The oldest retraps were from last winter.

I guess we need some cold weather to improve the catch.


 Nuthatch (G. Goddard)

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Recent recoveries

A number of Barn Owl recoveries have been coming through in the past couple of months. Howard Broughton of the Rushcliffe Barn Owl Project and SNRG has reported a few of the group's ringed birds, caught elsewhere in the county:

- A bird ringed at the nest in Gotham, in June 2014 was recaptured at a box in Ruddington this July.

- A bird ringed as a youngster in Screveton, in May 2014 was retrapped at Langar in September this year.

- A 1st year bird ringed at Greasley in May last year, was recaptured in Moorgreen in July.

- And a bird recaptured by Howard in Widmerpool this June, had been ringed two years previously, in June 2014 as a youngster, in Hickling.

Several other Barn Owl recoveries have come in:

- A bird ringed in Baston Fen, Lincolnshire in September 2014 was retrapped in Hockerton in June this year.

- A bird ringed as a chick at a box in Hoveringham, was found dead on the road in Lowdham in October this year, 4 months after it was ringed.

- A North Notts ringed bird has been retrapped in Kersall this August. It had originally been ringed as a youngster in June 2014.

- A bird ringed in 2011 in Muston is still going strong, retrapped this year in Denton.

- A bird found dead on the roads near Laxton, Newark at the end of November, had originally been ringed as an adult in Swinderby in May

- And finally, a bird ringed as a chick in Caunton in June 2014 has been found dead in the same village, earlier this month.

A few other recoveries have also come our way.

One of the Attenborough Grey Herons ringed as a chick in May last year, is still residing at the reserve, having been seen by SNRG member Pete Stanyon on site at the end of November.

A Cormorant ringed at the same site, in August this year, hasn't decided to stick around, and has been noted at Little Baddow in Essex.

More unfortunate road casualties - a Kestrel, ringed in Bassingfield, in May 2015, was found dead near Spalding in August, while a bird ringed as a chick at Brackenhurst in June 2014 was killed on the roads near Heanor. Both reasonable movements.

Two Sparrowhawks met a similar fate, with a bird ringed at the nest in Rempstone in July this year, being killed on the road at Stanford-on-soar on a few months later. Another one was killed on the roads near Sutton-in-Ashfield, having been ringed as a chick in Hucknall in June this year.

And finally, more interesting but still unfortunate for the bird in question, a Woodcock which was ringed as a 1st year bird in Watnall in November 2012, has been shot in Paj-de-calais, France. It met its end on the 27th November this year.


Monday, 5 December 2016

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 4 December

Sue, Esther, Alex, Duncan, Gary and I made another visit to the feeding site at Sutton Bonington today in calm netting conditions but with clear skies and a slight frost to start. Catching was slow but picked up a little when we put a 6m net in a new site. I had a quick look back at the November 2015 catches, we made 2 visits then and caught 33 Great and Blue Tit individuals. This year in 4 November visits we have only had 15 individuals and I guess that the poor breeding season tits have had is to blame.

We ended on 29 birds including 10 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Dunnock 1/0, Robin 0/2, Redwing 2/0, Blackbird 1/0, Great Tit 3/1, Blue Tit 2/3, Goldfinch 4/0, Greenfinch 1/0, Chaffinch 5/3, Reed Bunting 0/1. The oldest retraps were from last winter.


 A Chaffinch with a white cap! (A. Phillips)

 Processing a Greenfinch and a frosty start (S. Lakeman)

Avian Influenza in Europe

The Avian Influenza risk level has been increased to medium. The strain of the virus currently circulating is H5N8 and the risk to public health is very low. However, the increase in risk level has altered Defra’s request for information on wild birds found dead.

If you find one or more dead swans, ducks, geese or gulls or five or more dead wild birds of other species, please report this to the Defra hotline: 03459 33 55 77.

The advice is not to handle sick or dead birds unless absolutely necessary.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Brackenhurst, Tuesday 29 November

Duncan and I, and new ringers Erin & Hannah, braved the first decent frost of the winter at Brackenhurst today, after first needing Simon’s help to check through Equine’s new Checkpoint Charlie (a cold war joke there geddit?).

We processed 43 birds, 29 of which were caught before 9:00am. The cold bought in some Yellowhammers and thrushes first thing. The star bird, by a country mile, was a young Mistle Thrush. Up to 2015, only 291 have ever been ringed in Nottinghamshire.

The oldest retraps were a Robin and Great Tit from 2013. Again, tit numbers were down. It was surprising we only caught adult Robins, but they do seem to turn up on cold mornings when maybe are looking for a sure source of food?

Totals as follows (new/retrap): Dunnock 1/1, Robin 0/4, Blackbird 6/0, Redwing 3/0, Mistle Thrush 1/0, Blue Tit 2/0, Great Tit 0/2, House Sparrow 3/0, Chaffinch 6/5, Yellowhammer 5/4.


Sunday, 27 November 2016

Sutton Bonington, Saturday 26 November

Sue, Gary and I made another visit to the feeding site at Sutton Bonington today in perfect netting conditions, still and overcast. Catching was steady with a peak as a Long-tailed Tit flock went into the nets but was not as good as we were hoping for given the conditions. We ended on 35 birds including 12 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Wren 2/0, Dunnock 0/3, Robin 0/1, Blackbird 2/0, Great Tit 1/2, Blue Tit 3/2, Long-tailed Tit 8/2, Goldcrest 1/0, Goldfinch 5/1, Chaffinch 1/0, Yellowhammer 0/1. The oldest retraps were from last winter.


Saturday, 19 November 2016

Sutton Bonington, Saturday 19 November

Sue, Gary and I made another visit to the feeding site at Sutton Bonington today. It was a relatively calm and sunny morning, we were hoping for a little more cloud as the nets at this site are quite exposed and the full sun undoubtedly affected the catch. It was nice to get the first Reed Bunting and Yellowhammers of the winter and to retrap one of the 13 Lesser Redpoll we ringed last winter.

We ended on 22 birds including 7 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Dunnock 1/2, Robin 0/1, Great Tit 1/1, Goldfinch 10/1, Lesser Redpoll 0/1, Chaffinch 0/1, Reed Bunting 1/0, Yellowhammer 2/0. The oldest retraps were from last winter.


 Photos by Sue Lakeman

Thursday, 17 November 2016


For the last couple of years several members of SNRG have been fortunate enough to assist Jamie Dunning in his study of Twite. He has been catching and colour-ringing them in the Pennines, near Manchester, and in Derbyshire near Buxton. He has had several sightings providing some important information on their movements, longevity and how they mix between populations. One of the most recent sightings has been in Nottinghamshire, just North of Misterton. This is great news as not only are there very few sightings of Twite in Notts, but this one was actually ringed by Duncan at the Derbyshire site in September this year! Thanks to Caroline Smith, the observer, for the photos.

Mick P

Monday, 14 November 2016

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 13 November

Duncan, Sue, Esther, Gary and I made the second visit of the winter to the feeding site at Sutton Bonington on Sunday. A still and sunny morning resulted in a better catch than last week but the site was still relatively quiet, bird wise.

We caught 25 birds including 6 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Great Spotted Woodpecker 1/0, Dunnock 2/1, Robin 1/3, Blue Tit 1/0, Great Tit 1/2, Goldfinch 9/0, Chaffinch 4/0. The oldest retraps were from last winter.


(photos by S. Lakeman)